The Vault Regulars

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our view's on the Rob Roy Way. (Our way) What worked and what didn't.

I say "our way" because we strayed away from the designated route on a number of occasions. But in the main we followed the general direction as laid out in the guide book.
The RRW is a long distance route that starts in Dryman and ends in Pitlochry. A distance of 80 miles.
We decided to make a few changes, as follows.
1. We started from KinlochArd where we were able to leave the car for a long period of time without any worries.
2. We wanted to go up Ben Venue, Ben Ledi and Ben Lawers on route so this would mean going north of Loch Tay instead of on the southern track.
3. We knew that there was a track on the south side of the River Tay between Aberfeldy and Grandtully so we took this instead of the dangerous road walk on the north side of the river.

As it happened we didn't get to go up Ben Ledi as the pull to watch the England v Germany game got the better of us. (No comments please, we know)

We did a food parcel drop at the Golden larches cafe opposite the Brae's caravan site at Balqhuidder station. It was very kind of them to allow us to do this and therefore kept the rucksack light.

We also did a rucksack drop off at a B& B we were going to stay at in Callander. This enabled us to just use a small Gym bag for the first part of the walk.
So thank you ever so much Mike and Lesley at the Westerton. And also for putting on the match and providing beers and nibbles.

The guide book by Jacquetta Megarry and Rennie McOwen is well put together and very informative. The book was written in 2002 and quite a few views have changed as the forestry has grown considerably in some areas.
Do buy the guide, it's worth it and it's waterproof. But don't forget to invest in the latest os maps for the areas, paths have a habit of changing over the years.
We think that the route follows forestry paths far to much and it does spoil it to some degree. However don't be put off by this.

You can do this route without the need to camp or backpack if thats what you want to do, there are plenty of places to stay along the way and plenty of places to eat.
The only place you could have a problem is between Killin and Kenmore. You need to ensure that you have accommodation on this section.
Check this section carefully to avoid being stuck if you are going down the B & B route.

There is good local transport from all the villages into larger places such as Pitlochry, Callander, Stirling etc.

Also there is a new service operating which is called Demand Responsive Transport. You can call the company on 08445675670 or go to to book a pick up. You should give the company 24 hours notice of your requirement but they say they will try and fit you in anyway.
The service provides taxi like service at local bus fares.
We used it from Callander to Aberfoyle and it's great.

The dreaded midge!!!
Did we get bit! Bet your life we did. KinlochArd, Aberfoyle, Callander, Strathayre had some midge but not a problem. Then we got eaten alive in Balqhuidder. It was the worst i have ever seen them and that goes for Norway and Iceland too. They were in everything, your meal, the tent, your eyes and ears, just everywhere. Nothing put them off. Skin so Soft! they were not worried one bit. They loved the stuff. Nothing stopped them.
We were so pleased to leave Balqhuidder brae's site.
Stay at the Kingshouse, thats what i say.
We didn't encounter the problem once past Loch Earn head although we were told that Crianlarich had them bad as well.

What did we take that worked and what didn't.
The lightload towels worked a treat. They are better than the microfibre ones and we will use them again.

The travel tap water filter we got from BPL failed after 2 days on the trail. The filter body sheared off where the threads enter the bottle lid. Very disappointed to say the least as it's not cheap. I had been having some trouble with it leaking so i can only assume that there was a crack somewhere within the threads and on this occasion it broke off.

The Optimus crux stove proved a winner.

My new camera the Samsung NX10, i was very pleased with the weight of it and i never had that feeling that it was too heavy or clumsy.

The Rab Aeon Tees were fantastic especially with the hot and sometimes humid weather we had.


afootinthehills said...

Excellent review Alan. Sorry about the midges -'Skin so Soft' doesn't work for me either. Nothing does in my experience! Still, it sounds like you enjoyed the trip and people along the way seem to have been helpful which is good to hear.

I'll catch up with the rest of your blog later.

All the best.

The Odyssee said...

Hi Gibson,
It was a very nice walk and we did it at our own pace. It was great just the fact that we didn't have to be in a certain place at a certain time.
We had some fantastic meals. Quality and presentation on average was better than we get in our national parks.
We met some lovely people all along the route and only one twisted person who wanted to have a go (verbally) at the English and the useless football team. This was in Callander, but what was nice was that other Scots apologised for his rudeness.
The abuse didn't particularly bother us as i can usually turn it round and end up being best mates.

If you havn't done this or most of this walk already, it is worth doing even though it's not a high route.

afootinthehills said...

There's always one idiot around that'll have a go at the English football team. I can't understand the mentality really. But guess what, we weren't there at all!!

The Odyssee said...

I wish we hadn't been.
I don't understand it either. When ever Scotland play i always support them whoever they are playing.
Maybe it's something to do with the Munro of Dingwall blood running through my veins.

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